As the sun beats down: Our yogic trip to Mexico
As the sun beats down on the white neatly cleaned sand around us the trappings of wealth and security for some are clear to see. The Caribbean Sea gently rolls in and out as it has for eons, clear and warm like the welcoming womb of an expectant mother. A spirit can find peace and tranquillity here, if you can accept the full picture. Just a few kilometres in land the pueblo that feeds the idyllic coastal world beats to an altogether different rhythm. You are “eyes wide shut” if you ignore the frustration in the faces of the Mexican people as they scramble for the dollars and Euros of American and European tourists.
What is real Mexico? I am not sure I can answer that question after three weeks of trying to see beyond the evident chasms of excess, poverty.
The weather in the Yucatan is such an allegorical representation of the beauty and challenges seen in Mexico. For most of the summer day you are drenched with intense and overpowering sunshine, swallowed in sticky and uncomfortable near 100% humidity. Then storms begin to build and torrential rain intermittent for hours every evening throw you full force in to another world of energetic conflicts. And the world resets for another cycle of the same the next day; as does the endless weekly flow of tourist planes, coming and going.
As we walked through the sweltering heat of the Yucatan, in the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen, we were lucky enough to stumble upon a Mexican angel full of joy, with an open heart to match. Our angel smiled her way through an excitable explanation of places to eat in the town and before long we had agreed a yoga class for the next day. We shared a lovely introduction to Kundalini yoga to a group of Mexican and Argentine women in an open air tropical setting, otherwise a daytime play park, separating two housing estates. Afterwards, we rolled into a high-energy meal of nachos and alcohol free cocktails accompanied by Playa del Carmen pub music, salsa and air guitar solos. For a couple of hours I let go and enjoyed the company. The welcome from our Mexican yoga friends energised me along I looked forward to our journey to the opposite side of the country and the world famous Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta, in the West of Mexico, is a well-known party town.
PV was a very different environment to the Yucatan, surrounded by high mountains and jungle. The heat and daily storms were still very much part of the Mexican day. Tumbling down the cobbled roads of the old town I felt a sense of wonder as it reminded me of travelling around Mexico and Guatemala those many years before.
As fate does, another angel appeared and helped us through the tourist melee of PV and its environs. We had found an escapee of the American Dream. The excess of LA with its “you can’t have too many purses and shoes” attitude had finally taken its toll on our new friend. She packed up her home and family and headed south. Her “no more shit” way of life was brash and refreshing and with her unique energy she had managed to quickly open an oasis of healing in the middle of the concrete disarray that was and is PV.
We sat and drank coffee and absorbed the artwork and calmness around us and of course returned to offer yoga lessons. Five days later and four Kundalini yoga Master classes we had connected with a friend who will surely meet again. She introduced her family with joy and a freshness that was beautiful and before we knew it more escapees and wondering souls had found their way to the classes. It was a special few days made even better by a well needed vegetarian buffet restaurant and our conversations with similar souls.
We took a trip out into the Pacific and down the coast to the jungle. A turbulent and vibrant storm guided us and we swam in a warm Pacific Ocean as torrents of rain came down and lightening shot through the sky. The brief trip into nature was a welcome break from the tourist world of PV.
Mexico, the land of sleeping souls
‘Mexico is full of sleeping souls” we heard from one of our Mexican friends. The vacant looking covered faces walking through the maze of Mexico City were testament to this. I was reminded of the Borg, Star Trek baddies: cyborgs, assimilated into a collective, part machine and part biological, controlled by the hive mind and ruled by an overseeing queen. A piece of deviant art “Lament” shows a crying Borg queen separated from her collective makes me think. I wonder if she cries for herself as she has lost her connection or because she has escaped and now is free. Mexico City and the Borg collective, how similar, I wondered as we walked the Blade runner metropolis.
50 km out of CDMX (Mexico city) we clash with the full splendour of the pyramids of Teotihuacán. You can imagine nothing has changed from when the pyramids teamed with their city life and thousands of humans were killed in the name of sacrifice to false gods. No more so evident is this when you stop in the centre of CDMX where thousands of human skulls are open for all to see in the old Aztec ruins, dug up from the weak and sinking ground the city is built upon. What a complete and utter trip!!!
Polarity was ever present every day and moment. I have seen it before in India, China, even my own town and thoughts of escaping it were clearly useless. I was forced to face the reality of human misery full on. More so, I had to face my inner self and my place in this reality. I was and remain overwhelmed by it all and on my return to my yoga and sound healing I have slowly adapted to the helplessness around us. We all teeter on the edge of the abyss every moment of every waking day and no so more as we leave the apparent and real control of covid mania.
I am learning to swim in a sea so strong and powerful, sinking and floating at different times. Learning to swim this way is tough and to be guided through is the best I can ask. Guidance can come from within and from outside. To accept the loss and lack of control is the basis of this guidance and the peace and emptiness found in shunyata, that moment after a blissful yoga class or sound healing is where the healing begins and grows. I have remembered this recently having been back from Mexico for a few months.
Sharp awakenings are not that common, more a dull and slow journey to stay awake is how it is happening for me. I now often find I am saying to myself “ don’t go back to sleep”.
A moment of peace
How easy is it to find peace and tranquillity when you are relaxed and open? A difficult journey can be left behind for a few brief moments. Such an experience happened as we headed out of Tulum, an Elysium world growing out of the sand to feed the tourist dollar.
Yet a few kilometres from the hotel cacophony the energy of Tulum’s cenote water invigorates the soul. The small fish living in the waters will cheekily nip you as you invade their world. Such is the splendour of the crystal water and surrounding nature you quickly accept and laugh at such bold creatures.
Overhead flying vultures could be seen as a metaphor for the sometimes harsh outside world. And, for a few moments the water brings you back to yourself.
Are the vultures the jungle gods flying high above the human reality below, guiding us all and reminding us to fly as high and as free as them?